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"The story is well-crafted and meticulously researched, drawing on recently declassified FBI files and documents, and it moves at a helter-skelter pace . . . a gripping account of three tangled lives." -The Washington Post World
"A well-written, well-documented, exciting and yet unhappy tale of a crucial encounter between science and politics."-Los Angeles Times
Posted October 14, 2003
Did you ever go to one of those lectures in which the professor gives you lots of interesting information and enough material to solve your homework problems but doesn't tie it all together or really justify the important formulae? The Brotherhood of the Bomb is like that. It is an interesting read (for the most part) but misses on the hows and whys. How did Lawrence's cyclotron really work? Why was Oppenheimer the best choice to lead the Manhattan Project? Brotherhood of the Bomb is best when it focuses on the relationships between the principals: Oppenheimer, Lawrence, Teller, Bethe, Szilard, Fermi, etc. Sometimes, though, it becomes hard to follow who's whom without a scorecard. (None is provided.) The author does a great job with the life and stuggles of Edward Teller but gets too little into why he became a pariah among his fellow physicists. The author seems to make no judgement on this. Yet he does judge E.O. Lawrence on several occasions, and too harshly at that. The author does a good service in telling this story. He describes a lot well (except for technical matters -- his cursory treatment of the neutron bomb, for example, is misleading and offhanded) but explains too little. The author is not a physicist: it shows, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.